Say NO to Teaching Torture - Shut Down the Bullfighting School in San Diego!

  • by: Michelle Sibinovic
  • recipient: Bob Filner, Mayor of San Diego; Joe Terzi, CEO San Diego Tourism Authority; Jerry Sanders, President San Diego Chamber of Commerce

I find bullfights to be one of the most abhorrant displays of animal cruelty on earth. As a life-long animal welfare advocate and outspoken citizen against all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty including the sickening spectacle of bloodletting known as the "Toreo," I am appalled to learn that there is a bullfighting training school right here in my home state of California!

My goal for this petition is to contact the Mayor of San Diego, the CEO of the San Diego Tourist Authority and the President of San Diego's Chamber of Commerce to let them know that the state of California is not a host to spectacles of cruelty like those celebrated in the bull rings of Latin American countries! Commerce in San Diego should not welcome businesses that exploit and abuse animals!

Background Information:

The California Academy of Tauromaquia's web site boasts the following invitation to new "academy" recruits:

"When you want to learn about what outsiders call bullfighting, like how it works for instance, the really curious must eventually head for Spain, France, Latin America, and now San Diego, California. The California Academy of Tauromaquia is the nation's first bullfight school. It offers a practical and convenient education in the techniques of bullfighting. Classes are conducted in English and Spanish in various cities throughout the US and all over la planeta de toros. Our students train in San Diego for adventures world wide, just over the border, or right here in California. Is the bullfight a mystery to you? Do you love adventure but find bungee jumping maybe a little bit mindless? Study the science of bullfighting for thrills that mean something. Grace, geometry, animal behavior, mental discipline - all these things come together in la Tauromaquia. The academy is your entry to the exciting lifestyle of the aficionado practico, an entry based on good technique and pedigreed livestock. Visit the ranches of the world. Perform on the amateur circuit. Celebrate a natural!"

This so-called academy of horror and bloodshed boasts the following course description:

"Students of the Academy train in the classic manner; one on one with talented, experienced instructors running the horns. There is extensive video analysis, classes on the culture, history of the fiesta and zoology of the fighting bull. Students have the opportunity to train with guest instructors; both professional matadors and talented aficionado practicos. Every course culminates in a tienta - a class with livestock and the student's first face to face encounter with the wild."

You can visit the web page for more information on this "academy" of bloodshed at This so-called "academy" boasts week long intensive bullfight training lessons in San Diego and Spain and weekend "intensive" training lessons in San Diego and "Colonial Mexico."

The owner of the "school" is Coleman Cooney. Email Mr. Cooney and let him know you wil not tolerate a business that advocates animal cruelty and abuse:

The "technical coordinator" of the training classes is called "Santiago." Email him at

According to Geoffrey Gray of the New York TImes, Cooney's is one of several "bullfighting schools" that have proliferated in the United States. He states in his March 2006 article "Matador For A Day:"

"While bullfighting is illegal in the United States (except for nonlethal 'bloodless' events in some states), and California also bars promoting or advertising bullfights, it is not illegal to teach the moves and traditions. Mr. Cooney stages the live-animal component of his class work in Mexico. Advanced students can even pay extra for the opportunity to kill a bull there. Over the years, humane societies have launched campaigns to shut him down. Animal rights groups have sent spies with video cameras. Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said Mr. Cooney's school is a 'stepping stone' to animal cruelty. 'This is not an activity that any school should promote or provide training for,' Mr. Pacelle said. 'We want them to stop engaging in this nonsense.'"

Cooney contends that the controversy makes the experience of learning how to torture and kill a bull all the more attractive and that fans of the spectacle are tired of having fingers "wagged" in their faces. I want to do more than wag a finger in their faces---I WANT THIS "ACADEMY" SHUT DOWN!

Please join me in contacting San Diego's mayor, the president of San Diego's tourist authority and the president of the city's chamber of commerce! Urge the leaders of San Diego to shut down this academy of animal torture and abuse! San Diego is a major tourist destination in the state of California. Teaching adults and children to torment and kill innocent animals is not part of our "culture" and has no business being part of California's state commerce!

Mayor of San Diego Bob Filner - (619)236-6330 -

President, San Diego Tourism Authority Joe Terzi - (619) 236-1212 -

CEO, Sand Diego Chamber of Commerce Jerry Sanders - (619) 544-1300 (via Ashley Hause, Executive of Communications) - and (Executive VP Domestic/International Public Policy Aimee Faucett)

Thank you! There is power in numbers! We can make this happen! SIGN, SHARE AND FORWARD! Michelle ^..^

Dear Mayor Bob Filner, President Joe Terzi and President Jerry Sanders:

We the undersigned are calling for the closure of the "California Academy of Tauromaquia," a bullfighting "training academy" owned by Mr. Coleman Cooney in San Diego, California.

Bullfighting is illegal in the United States. While it is not technically against the law to "teach" students the "culture" and "craft" of bullfighting in this country, we believe a business whose purpose it is to teach students how to bait, torment, physically harm and utlimately kill a sentient creature in a ring for the sake of public spectacle holds no benefit for the commerce of San Diego nor provides any significant contribution to the tourist industry that makes California a popular destination for tourists and visitors year after year.

Bullfighting is not an "art form" as proponents of the sport claim. Bullfighting is the legalized torture of sentient beings for the sake of sadistic, public entertainment. If Mr. Cooney is passionate about the public bloodletting of animals, let him open a business in Mexico or Spain where spectacles of this kind are sadly legalized, condoned and supported.

Tourism is extremely important to San Diego and the state of California. There are many great tourist attractions for visitors within our great state and your fine city. Buisnesses promoting and advocating animal torture and death have no place amongst the outstanding attractions available to visitors who vacation in San Diego each year.

News of the existence of this "academy" negatively impacts the reputation of your city and tarnishes California as a popular host city for visitors from across the globe.

The "California Academy of Tauromaquia" is a school teaching both adults and children how to maime, torture and kill animals. Please shut it down.

Sincerely, Michelle Sibinovic

Update #17 years ago
Thanks for signing my petition calling for authorities to shut down Coleman Cooney's "bullfighting academy" in San Diego! Momentum is building along with media interest from several news sources. Dave Rice of the San Diego Reader and News 10 San Diego both interviewed me and published stories on the petition. Another story is pending with the International Business Times in New York City. Share the petition widely and convince others to "Say NO To Teaching Torture!" Michelle
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